Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Tsar Nicholas II, the inept last monarch of Russia, insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family.

  • The tragic story of Nicholas II (Michael Jayston), the last Czar of Russia, set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. It is an inside look into the private lives of Nicholas and his wife Alexandra (Janet Suzman), their daughters, their only son, and the painful secret about their son and heir apparent which bound the Imperial Couple to the mystical Grigori Rasputin (Tom Baker), and the eventual execution of the entire family.

  • Epic tale of the last years of Russia's Romanov dynasty, from the birth of Prince Alexei in 1904 until the family's execution in 1918. The Romanovs are absolute rulers, amongst the last of their kind in Europe, living in luxury while the vast majority of Russians lived in absolute poverty. Russia is also involved in a costly war with Japan over the Korean peninsula, and the Czar rejects all recommendations that he bring the war to an end. Moderate reformers argue in favor of a constitutional monarchy as is found in the United Kingdom, but Nicholas (Michael Jayston) will hear nothing of it, continuing his father's harsh policies and retaining absolute control. Revolutionaries abound, and the rise of the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin (Michael Bryant), Joseph Stalin (James Hazeldine), and Leon Trotsky (Brian Cox), slowly begin to gain an advantage. The Czar's decision, against advice, to authorize a general mobilization in 1914 leads to the disaster (for them) of World War I on the front, and Czarina Alexandra's (Janet Suzman's) insistence on relying on Father Grigori, a.k.a. Rasputin (Tom Baker), for advice further alienates the family from those who nominally support them. With the Russian people starving and general strikes spreading across the country, the Czar is forced to abdicate. Before the year is out, the Bolsheviks will be in power, and the Romanovs in custody. The entire family, the Czar, Czarina, four daughters, and one son, were executed in July 1918.

  • The final decade and a half in the lives of Nicholas (Michael Jayston) and Alexandra (Janet Suzman), the last Czar and Czarina of Russia, and their family is presented. This phase of their story starts in 1904 with the birth of the last of five children and their only son, Alexei, who Nicholas and Alexandra see as the continuation of the three hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty in ruling Russia following Nicholas. Global forces seem to be shifting, which threatens that dynasty. Other countries, such as Britain, have a monarchy that is largely symbolic, where the key decisions are made by an elected parliament, unlike the Russian duma, which is under Nicholas' control. Many of Nicholas' decisions have led to poverty and starvation amongst the Russian populace, especially amongst the working and peasant classes. Those unpopular decisions include the unnecessary war with Japan over Korea, Nicholas, who wanted an ice free port in the Pacific at the price of Russian lives in the war. Many of these decisions are also against the the advice of his inner circle of government ministers. As such, there is an uprising of the working class, Vladimir Lenin (Michael Bryant), who has formed the Bolshevik Party under Marxist ideals. Government actions against the working class, regardless of if it was sanctioned by Nicholas, leads to greater public dissatisfaction with his rule. But the greatest threat to the Romanov dynasty may be Alexandra. Her unpopularity grows through her association with Siberian peasant and self-professed holy man, Grigori Rasputin (Tom Baker), who states that he is the voice of God. Alexandra, a highly devout woman, is grasping at anything that will keep hemophiliac Alexei alive, she seeing her faith in Father Grigori as the only reason Alexei has survived as long as he has. Her unpopularity increases even more with the on-set of World War I, as she is from a German background, Germany, with whom Russia is at war.



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  • Based on the bestselling biography by Robert K. Massie, but less sympathetic to its main characters, "Nicholas and Alexandra" follow the last thirteen years in the life of Russia's Emperor and Empress as they face personal heartache, disloyalty and Revolution. Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Irene Worth, Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Diana Quick, Brian Cox and Tom Baker star.

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